Robert Stayton is a physicist, author, teacher, programmer, inventor, technical writer, typesetter, bread baker, and worm farmer, with one art museum exhibit to his credit. He has degrees in physics and science communication, but not in politics or economics.
His previous book Power Shift: From Fossil Energy to Dynamic Solar Power traced the human relationship with energy from the past to the present, and into the future with solar energy. It’s one of the few books that explains energy so the average person can understand it.
His first book, published in 2002 and entitled DocBook XSL: The Complete Guide, established him as a world expert in DocBook, the open-source software for computer-based publishing used by people and companies around the world. All of his books are edited and formatted using DocBook.
Stayton co-founded Energy Action, a research group that received a grant from the California Energy Commission. He also co-founded Energy Future Santa Cruz, a nonprofit organization that received funding from the National Science Foundation to develop an energy plan for Santa Cruz County using input from government agencies, community organizations, schools, and citizens. He also served as Energy Advisor for Santa Cruz County Supervisor Pat Liberty and served on the Energy Advisory Committee for the City of Santa Cruz.
In 1997, Robert and his wife built a passive solar home in Santa Cruz County and outfitted it with an off-grid solar photovoltaic system. He has been living with solar energy since then, always looking for new ways to apply solar in his daily life. He drives a solar-charged Plug-in Prius, heats his water with a solar water heating system, and bakes his bread in his solar oven. He has served as host to hundreds of people who have toured his home to see his solar exploits firsthand.